School districts are working to avoid teacher shortages with recruitment events

As the summer months draw to a close, Bay Area school districts are actively recruiting teachers to fill dozens of vacant positions in their classrooms before the start of the school year.

The San Francisco Unified School District said it had 137 classroom vacancies, slightly more vacancies than last year, according to a district spokeswoman. SFUSD recruits educators through job fairs and recruitment webinars and offers coaching support for people who want to become teachers.

The Oakland Unified School District said it is also hiring teachers to fill 76 vacancies out of about 2,300 positions.

San Jose Unified said it has about 50 classroom teaching vacancies, or about 4% of its classroom teaching staff. The district is also looking for people in support positions like teacher’s aides. SJUSD spokeswoman Jennifer Maddox said the district offers competitive compensation, with industry-leading benefits and “the best in the country” pension benefits. Part of a declaration reads as follows:

“Unfortunately, the cost of living in our area severely limits the number of eligible applicants. Public bodies, like school districts, need support and legislation to make housing and childcare affordable for public servants. Our students need bus drivers, teachers, and principals who can afford to live reasonably in Silicon Valley while being able to take care of their own families.”

The Mt. Diablo Unified School District held a teacher recruitment event Thursday to fill approximately 50 vacant positions in its district. Human Resources Chief John Rubio said the district offers bonuses ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 depending on the position.

“We are offering contracts immediately,” Rubio said. “As long as we find good candidates, we will hire them absolutely right away if we can.”

The teacher shortage is affecting districts across the state.

Tara Kini, chief of staff and director of state policy at the Learning Policy Institute of Palo Alto, said staffing shortages were affecting districts across the state. The problems started before the pandemic and only got worse.

“Districts have a much greater demand because they need to support the resumption of learning for their students,” Kini said. “And we’re seeing very high levels of teacher attrition.”

Kini said Sacramento leaders are investing in offering internships for people interested in becoming teachers. They also approved a new grant to help pay for someone’s education preparation.

“Right now we have something called the Golden State Teacher Grant, which gives a $20,000 scholarship to any new teacher who commits to teaching for four years at a high-needs school,” a- she declared.

Rubio at Mt. Diablo Unified said the district is not just focused on recruiting teachers, but on retaining the teachers they have.

“We see teachers saying, ‘Hey, I want to take a year off. I want to spend time with my family and take time off, but still be an employee.’ We usually grant them because we want them to come back.”

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